Each time Wes Anderson makes a film, you just know you’re in for a delightful ride and this time around it is called Grand Budapest Hotel. Grasping life in all its knotted complexities, filled to the brim with colour, teeming with fastidious details, it’s a vibrant lesson in just about everything.
It’s an transportive allegory for a time when central Europe was the king of the world and when life was grandiose and layered with opulence. It’s a love story, a fairytale of loyalty, of companionship and survival. Part historical reality, part fantasy, the script is full of good humour and delicious tidbits.
The sets are plump and blooming with colour celebrating the opulence of the glory days of the Hotel before the outbreak of the war. Bold military red, fairy floss pinks and frosted whites of the hotel’s heyday then give way to faded yellows and dated mustards taking us on a colour-rendered journey. We are transported from the visual delights of the 1930s sugar-topped majestic treat of the hotel, to its sadder days of 1970s near-abandonment. Outside the comforts of the Grand Budapest, it’s all shades of grey contrasted against barren whitescapes.
It’s the details, those precious details, that we are still savouring. The signature Anderson symmetry of EVERY frame, the extremely intense close ups of the Lobby Boy’s sweat-smeared, drawn-on moustache, the perfectly formed fish waves of Madame D.’s intensely high quiff, William Defoe’s freshly scarred fist and skull-ringed fingers. It’s the nostalgic opulence and evocation of everybody’s hotel dream satisfied – the keys, the scent of ‘L’Air de Panache’, and the signature miniature cake ‘Mendl’s Courtesan au Chocolat’.
We are still licking our lips with delight.